Last week, the Humane Society International released a short stop-motion video that follows the day of Ralph, a fictional bunny on whom testing for beauty products is conducted. While Ralph is shown to be proud of his “duties” to humans, his blindness to the situation serves only to highlight the cruelty of animal testing in the beauty industry and is meant to raise public awareness of the atrocities that go on behind closed laboratory doors.
With the video already having over 1.7 million views on YouTube and #saveralph amassing 120 million views on TikTok, it’s safe to say that Humane Society International’s efforts were fruitful. However, many people still don’t know much about animal testing, and therefore, this article will cover some of the basics and what you can do to help out.
What is animal testing?
Animal testing is the subjection of animals like primates, cats, dogs, bunnies, rats, and birds to painful procedures meant to guarantee a particular product’s safety for human use.
According to Cruelty Free International, such procedures include “injecting or force-feeding animals with potentially harmful substances, exposing animals to radiation, surgically removing animals’ organs or tissues to deliberately cause damage, forcing animals to inhale toxic gases,” and “subjecting animals to frightening situations to create anxiety and depression.”
In addition to such experiments, the harsh environment created by the lab causes animals to develop unnatural habits like pulling out their own fur and spinning continuously in circles.
While alternatives like in vitro testing and clinical human studies exist, animal testing is still widely practiced because it is believed that the bodies of such furry and feathery friends are similar to those of humans, and that, because they aren't given the same rights afforded to humans, it is more convenient and morally acceptable to test potentially dangerous products on them. Due to this, over 100 million “tester” animals die in laboratories each year.
While there are surely laws in place that govern and regulate such practices, they do not cover animals like rats, fish, and birds, which constitute a majority of those tested. In addition, while the FDA does not require companies to test on animals, it allows them to test their products in whichever way they see fit.
How can I help out?
There are many ways in which you can help the millions of animals subjected to such inhumane experiments! Try to:
1. Buy cruelty-free products
There are many companies, such as Glossier and Nourish Organic, that have taken a stand and chosen not to test their products on animals, thus warranting them the title of “cruelty-free.” Unfortunately, there aren’t many large companies that have done the same.
To access lists of brands that have gone cruelty-free in 2021, visit the Cruelty-Free Kitty or Ethical Elephant websites. Try finding some go-to cruelty-free brands for particular necessities. Additionally, you could download the Tokki app, which lets you know if particular brands have gone cruelty-free and allows you to create a list of “favourite” brands.
Sadly, lots of companies out there have taken to denying their animal testing and making false claims of being cruelty-free. To ensure the product you’re purchasing really is cruelty-free, try to look for one of the three following logos, then search their corresponding organisation’s database to ensure that the logo was not placed there undeservingly:
2. Call out brands that continue to test on animals
It may be saddening to hear that popular names like Sephora, Maybelline, Bobbi Brown, and Colgate have not yet gone cruelty-free. Cruelty-Free Kitty tells you how to get your favourite brands to do so in this list. To see which other brands have not stopped testing on animals, visit Cruelty-Free Kitty’s list.
3. Raise awareness in any way you can
Silence is not an option! We must all use our voices to stand up for those who have none, human or not.
May it be donating to organisations dedicated to fighting animal testing and encouraging others to do the same or sharing social media posts that will spread information regarding cruelty-free products, anything could make a huge difference. The more public demand to end animal testing, the more big corporations will be pressured and urged to do so.
We rarely ever think of how our everyday products come to be, but by doing this, we disregard the lives of millions of tester animals, both those that have already died from the practice and that are set to die in the future.
Animal testing is cruel and inhumane, and it must come to an end. We all have a role to play in pressuring large companies to stop subjecting living creatures to procedures that make their lives miserable, and it's time we start playing it.
"Greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
- Mahatma Gandhi